Portland’s Southern food boom

…the place was swarmed like cockroaches on a piece of stinky cheese

November 3, 2008

One of my favorite restaurants in town is the Screen Door. Since I’m from the South originally—and the Door serves some of the finest comfort food in town—it’s a staple of any visit by my family. And it used to be that we could just drop in most anytime, snag a table, and fill our bellies. We felt like we were in on some sort of whispered culinary secret. But the last two times I’ve tried to get in, the joint has been packed out like something you’d see in midtown Manhattan.

In fact, when the ladyfriend and I dropped by with my visiting cousin and his wife at 6:45 this past Saturday, the place was swarmed like cockroaches on a piece of stinky cheese. I was told it would be an hour wait. My cousin’s wife being 6 months pregnant and usually ravenous, I feared for my life if I put our name down on the waiting list. Seeing as how we just named the Screen Door one of the 10 best restaurants in the city, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the crowd. (Somewhere our dining editor Camas Davis is folding her hands at her chin all Mr. Burns-like and saying "Exxxxxcellent.")

Luckily, living in Portland meant that our Plan B was the ever-worthy bastion of Southern goodness, Miss Delta. We ordered up some collards, fried chicken, and fried steak and happily got our grub on in the way of our redneck forefathers. In fact, at one point I tried to hand our waiter a plate of fried okra remnants to clear the table and nearly got my fist taken off by my cousin’s wife.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that Portland is a great place to get fat, even if your first option is jammed with word-of-mouth diners. Someday, Screen Door, we shall meet again.

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